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Andy O'Sullivan, Client Director - Workspace

Oliver Heath (yes, the gentleman famed for Grand Designs) spoke recently at a ‘Mix Inspired Event’ about ‘Biophilic Design’ and we found the take out of his speech fascinating.

Oliver Heath at Mix Inspired Event

What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilic design is a response to the human need to connect with nature. It aims to create built environments inspired by nature and works to re-establish the connection between individuals and the environments in which they live and work every day.

Why is it important to account for biophilic design? People find natural settings appealing and aesthetically pleasing, but people are increasingly isolated from the benefits of natural systems and processes. By designing nature into day-to-day environments, the recipient’s emotional experience of the space is likely to be more positive.

What impact does Biophilic Design have on the workplace?

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health, has put together a Global Impact Report on Biophilic Design, covering 7,600 individuals in 16 countries. We’ve shared some of the key findings from the report:

  • Those who work in environments with natural elements, such as greenery and sunlight, report a 15% higher level of well-being than those who work in environments devoid of nature.
  • Those who work in environments with natural elements, such as greenery and sunlight, report a 6% higher level of productivity than those who do not have the same connection to nature within their workspace.
  • Those who work in environments with natural elements, such as greenery and sunlight, report a 15% higher level of creativity than those with no connection to natural elements in the workplace.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, biophilic design in the workplace has a substantial, measurable impact on the main employee outcomes such as well-being, productivity and creativity.

Across the world, a third of all respondents report that the design of an office would affect their decision to work for that organisation, presenting biophilic design as an important consideration for those companies that want to attract and recruit the best employees.

Given its positive impact, surprisingly large numbers of employees reported having little or no contact with nature in their workplace – 47% report having no natural light in their workplace and 58% report having no natural greenery (live plants).

Biophilic design can be applied everywhere – think how it could be incorporated into your retail, health or workspace environment – providing customers with a space that increases their feeling of well-being and willingness to be responsive.